Sunday, January 31, 2016

I got my first detroit techno record!!!!!

Hey guys, I went to underground sound a few days ago just to check out the records. I wasnt even thinking about techno or looking for it at all and I found ONE COPY of Cybotrons debut "techno record" Enter.  Enter is the record with clear, cosmic cars, the alleys of your mind, techno city, etc.

IT SOUNDS SOO WEIRD.  The entire first side of the record is this weird disco/rock music, with tons of juan atkins vocals and electric guitar solos. Very very odd sounding stuff.

He talks about techno-fying the world to save it from the bias. The bias being detroit's economic and social downfalls on the community and the black community im assuming.

VERY COOL to think about that message. If anyone wants to listen to it on vinyl, lets make a time!

Check it out on digital either way. Enter, 1983 by Cybotron (Juan Atkins).

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sepalcure - live from WUK club / Wien 12.7.2011

I've been thinking a lot about the different sub-styles of techno (as in, Kraftwerk is a lot different than AtomTM). I've been analyzing the different nuances of each style--the do's and don'ts per se--and trying to figure out how I personally maneuver my musical gestures authentically through each style. So far in class I feel we've deeply explored the Kraftwerk style, especially with Isaac's joint on Thursday, and I'm thinking if eventually we can explore a later style of "techno" as seen in this video. I have a really basic sketch of a two-section-oscilating jam for us to try on Tuesday that is inspired by AtomTM and this group, Sepalcure (made of Machinedrum and Braille, if you're familiar with them).

Since my assignment is Gibber, I thought this video can demonstrate how it could be a powerful tool. However, I have found Gibber to be quite a challenge as it is a new coding environment for me. One thing that often throws me off while coding in Gibber is keeping track of each sound and its parameters. A big objective is to recreate the sound I hear in the form of code.

Modern Kraftwerk

Technology doesn't stop progressing, and--fittingly--it appears as though much of Kraftwerk's recent performances are a reflection of this trend. I happened upon this video of a Kraftwerk show from within the past 2 years, and I was surprised how well the group managed to adapt their familiar tunes to the trends of both music and technology. The songs now seem to align with the anticipatory patterns of modern electronic music, such as in the transitions between "Computer Music" and "Numbers," and many of the original, synthesized sounds have undergone a lot of processing, giving them sounds that are still uniquely Kraftwerk but comparable in sound quality to modern electronic records. Some songs go so far as to only preserve a number of signature elements--synth and vocal lines--while giving the group a framework on which they can experiment--similar in many respects to the compositional style we often relied upon last year in ECM. "Autobahn" was a good example of this, and I don't think I would have recognized many of the song's segments in isolation. The amount of time given to improvisational sections was also surprising, but it makes me appreciate the transparency, vulnerability, and musicianship of the performance.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


I've been getting into an artist named Jayforce lately. He comes up with a lot of subtle melodies that aren't only just musically interesting but have really really great timbres. It's helping me start to come up with some of my own sounds for future jams!

Timeline of Apple Products

Wikipedia is admittedly good for some things:


MoodyMann So true...

I've been listening to this song for over the past year.
MoodyMann is a Detroit based producer/DJ who makes grooves so true its ridiculous.
Check it out : my words do it no justice...

Down On My Luck - Vic Mensa

Tuesday's jam led by Ian reminded me of this song, which I haven't listened to in a pretty long time... Vic Mensa is a rapper who got his start with a 7 piece hip hop/jazz/rock fusion group named Kids These Days. They have since gone separate ways and this is one of the first singles Vic released since the end of KTD. Sweet groove with an interesting vocal part. Could be used as inspiration!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Night drive to button press

Its working!

Refresher on Vocal Processing in Ableton

As I am tasked with creating a vocal rig I have been watching videos to refresh and expand my knowledge of vocal processing using Ableton Live. I really love the vocoder in Ableton and I've used it a lot, but I hope to use it in new ways to create fresh sounds for our ensemble. If anyone else is interested in learning about vocal processing with Live their are a ton of videos on YouTube.

Here's one that I found very useful in a technical sense:

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Future of Music (1987)

I came upon this article and I really like it. It's an insight into what computer musicians (in 1987) thought about what was to come for music as technology became more and more integrated into the composition and performance of music.

Here is the link: 

Also...Larry Polansky lists "leaving the planet; becoming fully communicative inhabitants of the galaxy" as something essential in the future of music, which is something I never thought about before but will probably think about from now on. Do aliens make music?

Form Transcription of Alleys Of Your Mind

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Kraftwelt existed

I was making noise boxes with my electronics/circuit bending guru and he suggested I check out Kraftwelt - they sound kinda like a 90s industrial Kraftwerk. The Kraftwerk formula is used in plenty of their tracks.

I'm drawn to this because it's heavily Kraftwerk influenced with an emphasis on non-tonal sounds, which is something I'm interested in exploring with our group this semester.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Slightly More Gibberish

Among the various technical obstacles that I personally have encountered in Gibber is the lack of ability to publish my code to the server or retrieve other users' code via the search functionality on my computer. Nonetheless, I wanted to allow anyone who was interested the chance to explore, tweak, completely tear apart and reconstruct, or otherwise act on creative impulse with the Gibber code that I presented in class the other day. Note that this is a very small example--and not nearly as well documented--compared to the tutorials offered on the Gibber website.

Clock.bpm = 140

b = FM({index:15, cmRatio:1.0333})
 .note.seq( ['c1', ,'c1', ], [1/4,1/8,1/4,3/8])
 .fx.add( LPF(0.2) )
b2 = Synth({waveform:'Sine'})
 .note.seq( ['c2', ,'c2', ], [1/4,1/8,1/4,3/8])
 .fx.add( LPF(0.5) )

d = XOX('xxxx')

e = XOX('..o.....', 1/4)
  .fx.add( Reverb(1) )
  .fx.add( Crush(10, 0.8))

c = XOX('**..*..*..*.**.*').fx.add( Delay(3/16) )
  .fx.add( Reverb(0.8) )

s = XOX('oo....oo........oo..oooo........', 1/16).amp(0.3)

a = Synth({ attack:ms(1000), maxVoices:4 })
 .chord.seq( ['c4min7'], 1 )
 .fx.add( LPF(0.4) )


I also wanted to extend the offer of assisting anyone who is interested with installing Gibber locally on his/her computer. The process requires a small amount of knowledge on Git, command line, and node.js and allows you to use your computer's processor to run Gibber rather than limiting yourself to the processing bandwidth of your internet connection. For more computationally intensive tasks in Gibber--chordal synths, graphics, etc.--this is a must.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


I've been digging for new, preferably techno, music through the "Related Artists" tab on Spotify for the past week or so... Starting with Carl Craig, I somehow ended up on Squarepusher. The most interesting part of all the songs I've listened to was unique usage of reverb and space. Whether it's a pad drowned in a long reverb or just a gated snare, our choices with reverb are as emotional and powerful as any melody or tempo. I would really like to see our group focus on being aware of the types of spaces our instruments are in. Squarepusher's "Red Hot Car" is an awesome example of this... The drums are dry at the start, but sound completely different by the middle section. It'd be cool if we could compose with changes of reverb in mind.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Interview with local Live-PA artist Erika

Interview Link

Erika is a killer producer and live performer who used to be a DJ at WCBN in Ann Arbor. She does her performances with an all-hardware live setup and I can say from experience it is a very dynamic show. I feel she pays great attention to sonic detail and the result is very genuine. She plays regularly in Detroit where I saw her once three years ago at the Leland, and in 2013 at DEMF. She's bound to play a show sometime soon - consider going.

Tune Here: Erika - Tow Ride

Carl Craig

So, I know we already listened to this one the other day, but it's so awesome I can't get over it!

Every single sound in this track is gold.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Paula Temple

I was searching far and wide for a cool female "techno" producer to post about and came upon Paula Temple. She's from Berlin, Germany and her style is pretty industrial and heavy. I'd suggest checking out the track called "Gegen":

Yay women!!

First Techno (Kraftwerk 1970)

 Even though this piece is from 1970, the year Kraftwerk was formed, it already contains many similarities to techno music. I could see how this was a starting point where it would later develop into techno. Even though techno was based from Detroit, the founders of techno were heavily influenced by Kraftwerk.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Actress - Always Human

yo whaddown ECMJAMBALAYA2016?*?*&*&*)*)*?*?                   *?

This is a real quick jam I'm really inspired by. I'd love to work with chopped up samples in this fashion  to create melodies on the fly, or even just dope non-melodic repetitive motifs like the vocal sample at 2:00. It'll be fly, I trust.

Techno as "Post-Disco"

One theory of the emergence of Techno in Detroit is that it was facilitated by the sudden (and deliberate) decline of disco. It is difficult to overestimate how culturally important disco music was by the end of the 1970s. It was the club music of much of the decade, and worked its way into every corner of the music world.

Exhibit A:

By the end of the decade, disco became reviled by many, primarily white fans of rock 'n' roll. Its destruction was literal, vehement, and violent, with racist and homophobic overtones, as disco music was especially popular among African American, Hispanic, and gay communities. The Detroit radio station WRIF issued D.R.E.A.D. cards (Detroit Rockers Engaged in the Abolition of Disco) to its listeners:

A Chicago radio station incited the infamous Disco Demolition Night riot of 1979:

Although there aren't always strong musical connections between disco and techno, this helps explain how disco's sudden absence left a hole for techno to thrive.

Some follow-ups

Here are a couple of references for those who want to know more about the dance music scene in Detroit in the 1980s. This is the Ken Collier mix I found on Mixcloud, dated to somewhere in the mid-1980s:

Everyone should read Chapters 2 and 3 of Dan Sicko's book Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk. It's available online through the U-M library with your Michigan login credentials. Hopefully this link will work:

I'm going to add some of the precursor music discussed in Chapter 2 to the Spotify playlist.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


After seeing Alvin's equipment today, I wanted more info on his tr-909. I think this article does a really good job at explaining why the tr-909 was so great for techno in the 80's-- not just because of its sound abilities but because of its unique expressiveness.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Quote to check out :

"When we say that [technologies] are 'mere automatisms', we project as much as when we say they are 'loving creatures'; the only difference is that the latter is an anthropomorphism and the former a technomorphism"

-from "Toward a New Organology: Instruments of Music and Science" by John Tresch and Emily Dolan

I like this quote in regards to us using technology as performers of electronic music. Our performance will inevitably have a dynamic between our humanity and our instruments of choice [a dynamic between anthropomorphism and technomorphism], and I want it to remain an active conversation that we can choose either to be dominant from piece to piece.

Elements of Techno in the Music of Dhafer Youssef

Dhafer Youssef is an avant-garde jazz and world music composer and performer. I was first drawn in to Youssef's sounds when I came across this performance--still one of the most cathartic musical moments I've seen. As I've been delving more and more into techno, I couldn't help but notice the underlying elements that Youssef's compositions share with techno music: repetition and augmented repetition; gradual builds; incorporation of unique and electronic sounds; and the presentation, removal, and resurgence of key musical material. I find this to be most heavily represented in his composition "Odd Poetry". The composition does delve into jazz tropes--an ABA form, improvisation, and acoustic instrumentation--in parallel to those found in techno, so it is certainly a far cry from the original Detroit techno. Still, I think it is an interesting piece to explore in order for us to understand both the origins of techno as well as the diversity of its modern ancestors.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Son Lux

I'm sure by now many of you know about Son Lux. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform in Detroit a couple years back. If you ever hear of them doing a concert go to it. It was such an awesome experience.

If you don't know much about the group, they have done a few full length albums now and they have also done film composition, such as their work for "The Disapperance of Eleanor Rigby: Them."

Lord also remixed their song "Easy." TOTALLY LISTEN TO IT.

Digital Tape Machine

Digital Tape Machine has an interesting approach to live electronic music. Unfortunately, they're really only a side project of a bunch of musicians from other bands (Their drummer is from my favorite band, Umphrey's McGee. If you haven't heard me rant/talk about how great Umphrey's is, I can nearly guarantee you will at some point this semester lol). DTM has released just one album. Definitely worth a listen. It's called "Be Here Now" While they most likely aren't traditional "techno", I think there are a few aspects of their sound our group can find inspiration in. I love the combination of a real drum kit and electronic samples. If we've got any percussionists or drummers in the group we should definitely incorporate 'em!!! At around 4:00 in the above video, one of the DJ's (? I don't really know what to call her) does some cool stuff with scratching and delay. Lastly, a lot of DTM's live shows are improvised. I'm really excited to see where our group goes when not restricted to a composition or specific form!!!

Working on a track

I've been working on this track since the weekend.

Definitely a work in progress. Thoughts appreciated. Thinking of adding words? it techno??

Monday, January 11, 2016

it is 2016 and yr still goth

this is barely techno related but i figured i'd mix it up a bit. i've been listening to a lot of darkwave/post-punk as of late, something about cold, sterile mixes and gated reverb on snares has really grabbed hold of me. the following post is not at all meant to be a deep or even a surface-level foray into darkwave, just stuff that i've listened to lately

she past away (bursa, turkey) and winter severity index (rome, italy) are probably my two favorites right now in addition to also being the two that are traditionally "rock band instrument" centered. pretty much just if you put new order/joy division in a freezer in east europe

cold cave (philadelphia, pa) and tr/st (toronto, ontario) are more on the synth-pop side of things, which seems to have gotten them a little more attention in north america. the main dude behind cold cave was in the hardcore punk band american nightmare if that means anything 2 you (i think he was born with one hand or something too). that tr/st video was posted by noisey/vice which i thought was pretty cool. if you dig chvrches and stuff like that but wish it were edgier and in a dark room then here's your dig

were you reading this post and thinking to yourself "well that's all well and good but i also love rammstein and i am watching the matrix"? you're in the right place. girls under glass and in strict confidence are two german groups who really just make super industrial dance music (i think the term people on the internet use is electronic body music?). hilariously enough these are the first groups i've put in this post that are before the year 1990. im a poser

A Bit of Gibberish

Gibber is more than just another language for music synthesis. Being a tool that resides in the browser, Gibber opens up the ideas of being able to source your musical and visual elements from various media storage servers (e.g., calling Freesound() to access the Freesound sample database) and use them in real-time performance. I'm especially interested in how the practice of live coding at a moderately high level of abstraction places a constraint on timing: natural periods of repetition occur due to the time required to type and execute a new command. The ability enforces the idiomatic, gradual building of layers in techno music. This video is one of the many live coding sessions done by Charlie Roberts, the creator of the software.

Carl Craig - Sparkle

I really like how each instrument gradually comes in starting from the high pitched strings and the glissando-ish sound to the bass then the kicks. The piece seems to have a direction all the time and moves forward at a perfect pace, just when I was settling in the new idea either a new element comes in or an existing element is taken away, one at a time. The groove also changes around halfway through the piece, but there are still the synth strings and the glissando sound that link back to the beginning (almost like a theme). The 'theme' then returns in the ending of the piece. I think this piece is very well structured and all the sounds complemented each other really well. :)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Dimitri Kneppers - The Kick Off

Going off of Joey's recent post, I decided to do some more research on Carl Craig and ended up looking further into his Planet-E Communications label. I listened through many of their current artists, but Dimitri Kneppers caught my interest the most. Compared to their other artists, Kneppers' classification of techno as a genre appears more open in terms of risks he's willing to take with both his composition and instrumentation choices. In this track, not all sounds can be classified as electronically produced by the ear. His use of piano sound, for example, had me thinking about originality in techno music. Because our class strives to not misrepresent the sound of techno, I've been worried that I may not freely explore compositional choices and avoid taking risks. This song explores how this can be possible in techno and still showcase the genre appropriately.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Some of my favorite tracks right now!!!


Hey guys, I thought to get the ball rolling we could start track sharing!!!!

These are some of the most influential tracks I have heard and loved and learned from over the past year of diving into techno.

Nude Photo - Rhythm is Rhythm (Derrick May)

This track....  the syncopation says it all.... check out how he moves where you feel "one" and how he makes the phrasing feel unique each time by introducing loops and elements on different beats throughout the track...
AND THAT SYNTH SOUND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

if i remember correctly this was one of his first releases, or one of the first releases that the clubs responded to really highly... either way. check out derrick may.  hes crucial to the history and innovation of the Detroit sound.

JUAN ATKINS (Cybotron, Model 500, etc)
"he invented techno"

this is his Sonic Sunset album
please check out this whole record one of my favorites of his model 5 sound
Especially Neptune.....
His patience is strong!!!!
You will know when the kick comes in....

also check out this House track, by a French dude named Mad Rey, not much documentation on him. he released an EP in 2014 and people speak about him with anticipation and respect. its a nice contrast to the detroit stuff...
Also Peter and I help shoot a piece for PBS Detroit Public Television on Juan Atkins focused mostly about Kraftwerks influence on him as a techno artist. I cant upload that rough cut publicly, but if anyone is interested, I can send the cut privately via email or something.